As we come to the end of another year it is time to look back at all the good movies that came out in 2019. This was the year we saw the end of Star Wars as we know it (some may argue that that happened sooner) and we also continue to see Disney take over the world (insert evil laughter here) and we also got Cats or whatever that was with the Cats title. Among the many movies that were released both in the theater and on your streaming services, here were my favorite movies of the year.
Starring: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas
Written and Directed by Rian Johnson
What do you do when a fan base thinks you did their beloved franchise wrong? Well if you are Rian Johnson you write a good old classic whodunit with an all-star cast, and remind them why you got that gig in the first place. Regardless of how you feel about Johnson’s The Last Jedi, the one thing you can’t question is his gift as a story teller and filmmaker, and its movies like this that remind you how much joy a good movie can bring you.
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Starring: Paola Lara, Juan Ramón López, Nery Arredondo
Written by and Directed by Issa López
This film made its way around the festival circuit in 2017 but finally found its release this year. This is a dark fairy tale about a gang of five children trying to survive the violence of the cartels and the ghosts created everyday by the drug war. This movie is just plain magical and when you see it you will want to share it with as many people as you can.
Starring: Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson
Written by Max Eggers and Robert Eggers, Directed by Robert Eggers
I was already full aboard the Robert Eggers train after 2015’s The Witch, but now after his latest feature, I got a permanent seat. Set on a New England island in the 1880s we get to experience the madness men can fall into when they are left alone with nothing but themselves. Besides watching an acting class in session by both Pattinson and Dafoe, we also get to learn little tidbits like its bad luck to kill a sea bird along with other gold.
Starring: Aisling Franciosi, Sam Clafin, Baykali Ganambarr
Written and Directed by Jennifer Kent
Of all the movies on my list this is the only one I don’t know if I want to ever watch again. Now that’s nothing against the quality of the film, but more so the subject matter and, well, to put it simply, this is a tough watch. With that said, if you do make it through, you will be rewarded with this story set in 1825 in the rugged Tasmanian wilderness, about a woman seeking revenge against a British soldier who committed a terrible act of violence against her family.
I Lost My Body
Starring: Hakim Faris, Victorie Du Bois, Patrick d’Assumçao
Written by Jérémy Clapin, Guillaume Laurant, Directed by Jérémy Clapin
The only animated film to make my list this year, which really says how good this movie is. It’s the story of Naoufel, a young man in love with Gabrielle and a severed hand that escapes from a lab in search of its body. Now I know at first you are thinking “why would I want to see that?”, and the answer is quite simple, its beautiful. From the animation to the music, all lead by a story about love, this is just the movie this world needs.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
Starring: Jimmie Fails, Jonathan Majors, Rob Morgan
Written by Joe Talbot, Jimmie Fails, Rob Richert, Directed by Joe Talbot
Home is a word that means so much to us, but the question to where home is, can mean different things to different people. For Jimmie (Jimmie Fails) and his friend Montgomery (Jonathan Majors) home is in San Francisco, but that is a city that feels like it has left them behind. So together they search the city for a home or maybe just what is home to them.
Starring: Shuzhen Zhao, Awkwafina, X Mayo
Written and Directed by Lulu Wang
For most people, family is everything and for Billi (Awkwafina) that is of course the truth. When she and her family finds out her grandmother Nai Nai (Shuzhen Zhao) may only have a short time to live, they decide to keep her in the dark about it and schedule a wedding to gather before she dies. A great story about the differences between different cultures put upon by other family values.
Starring: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays
Written by Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Directed by Sam Mendes
On one day in 1917 two British solders named Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) are given the impossible mission to deliver a message deep in enemy territory to save 1,600 lives. Shot in what appears to be one take, Mendes changes the way you watch a war movie and also the way you feel. Very few films take you on a journey the way this movie does.
Starring: Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern
Written and Directed by Noah Baumbach
There are some things in life that can only be experienced as through a movie. My parents got a divorce when I was a teenager, but they never had explosive fights around me or my sister. For me things worked out as my parents remarried, but I know the havoc divorce can play on people’s life. Marriage Story feels too real and it is because it was based on Baumbach’s own divorce from his first wife. It is hard to make it through this unscathed, but for every time it puts your heart in the ringer it shows you the good as well, so much so that you feel it all.
Starring: Kang-ho Song, Woo-sik Choi, So-dam Park
Written Bong Joon Ho, Jin Won Han, Directed by Bong Joon Ho
No movie felt more like the world we live in this year than Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece Parasite. It’s the story of a family who does odd jobs to make ends meet, but start to get a break when their son gets a job tutoring for a well to do family. Soon things work where the whole family work for the rich that ultimately gets them entangled in an unexpected incident.
Monos, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Uncut Gems, The Two Popes, Waves, Little Women